Reducing catches of small Nephrops through an increase in mesh size and a survivability exemption

Project Scope Project Scope

With discard rates as high as 30% in some areas, solutions were also needed for undersize Nephrops. Firstly, the biological and economic implications of an increase in the minimum codend mesh size were assessed. A 45% reduction in undersize Nephrops and improved profitability over the course of a fishing season led to a nationally legislated increase in mesh size from 70 to 80 mm. Secondly, exemptions from the landing obligation may be permitted where relatively high post-capture species survival in fishing gear can be demonstrated. BIM demonstrated a 65% Nephrops survival rate in a trawl using a 300 mm escape panel and the EU granted an exemption all vessels using such environmentally friendly gears in Irish waters. This means that any undersize Nephrops taken aboard can be put back to sea and do not against quotas with major biological and economic benefits for Irish vessels. 


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Fisheries Conservation Manager

Dr. Ronán Cosgrove